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Polling company head says 56 percent against executive presidency in Turkey

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President of SONAR polling company Hakan Bayrakçı has said around 56 percent of Turks are against a switch to an executive presidency and that the ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) is well aware of this.

According to Bayrakçı, who spoke to the Aydınlık daily based on the results of various opinion polls, 56 percent of Turks will say “no” if Turkey holds a referendum on a constitutional amendment seeking a change in the system of governance in Turkey to an executive presidency. He said around 30 percent of AKP voters are also against an executive presidency.

There is an ongoing debate over a switch to a presidential system in Turkey since Nationalist Movement Party (MHP) leader Devlet Bahçeli brought the issue back to the country’s agenda again, saying that President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is acting like a de facto president under an executive presidency and that the situation needs to be resolved.

Turkey currently has a parliamentary system, and the post of the president is largely ceremonial.

“There was a certain increase in support for Erdoğan following the coup attempt on July 15, but the highest support for an executive presidency is around 42-43 percent. Although there is support for Erdoğan, there is not sufficient support for an executive presidency. Fifty-six percent of voters are against a presidential system,” he said.

Bayrakçı also said it is a difficult period for pollsters because people are afraid of saying what they really think.

Erdoğan is a strong supporter of a switch to the presidential system. Yet, critics say he wants a “Turkish style” executive presidency without checks and balances, one that is aimed at creating one-man rule. AKP officials have said they will soon bring a proposal for a change to the presidential system to Parliament’s agenda.

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